University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > BAS Chemistry & Past Climate Seminars > Assessing the impact of Holocene climate, sea level, and sea ice change on the Ardley Island penguin colony

Assessing the impact of Holocene climate, sea level, and sea ice change on the Ardley Island penguin colony

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr. Ailsa Benton.

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The western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) is located in one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth, and is a key area for studying the impact of changing climate on glacier dynamics, sea level and terrestrial and marine ecosystems. As part of the IMCONET (www.imconet.eu) research programme, we are investigating relative sea level change and bio-geochemical sedimentation processes on Fildes Peninsula and Potter Peninsula, South Shetland Islands. Using lake sediment records from Fildes Peninsula, and recently collected lake and terrestrial samples from Potter Peninsula, we have: (1) improved existing, and produce new, relative sea level curves for the South Shetland Islands; (2) studied present and past bio-geochemical characteristics of lacustrine and terrestrial sediments on Fildes and Potter Peninsulas; (3) examined rates of deglaciation, and deglaciation-related changes on Fildes and Potter Peninsula, and the erosion of terrestrial deposits into Potter Cove and Maxwell Bay; (4) developed new lacustrine biomarker-based temperature proxies in an attempt to quantify past changes in temperature. This talk focuses on past lake ecosystem and penguin population responses to Holocene deglaciation and climate/oceanographic-change across the WAP region. Juvenile gentoo penguin bones and elevated concentrations of a suite of inorganic trace elements commonly associated with penguin guano were found in lake sediments from Ardley Island during some, but not all, ‘warmer’ phases of the last c. 9,000 years. I will discuss how changes in climate, sea ice distribution and relative sea level, as well as volcanic activity, could have influenced long-term changes in the size and distribution of penguin colonies on Ardley Island and across the WAP during the Holocene.

This talk is part of the BAS Chemistry & Past Climate Seminars series.

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